World Customs Organization2003-05-09 20:21:57

CUSTOMS ADMINISTRATIONS AROUND THE WORLD ON LOOKOUT FOR STOLEN IRAQI ANTIQUITIES

The WCO Deputy Secretary General, Mr Kunio Mikuriya said today that the WCO had advised its 161 Member Customs administrations before the Iraqi conflict had commenced, that precious antiquities might be stolen and smuggled out of that country. This had followed advice received from UNESCO.

Mr Mikuriya said it was particularly pleasing to read press reports of a substantial seizure of suspected antiquities from Iraq having been made by the Jordanian Customs. He said that concerted international action was necessary to identify and locate any stolen treasures and effective action at borders and frontiers was an essential element in the international enforcement effort.

The WCO would be working closely with UNESCO, ICPO-INTERPOL, the International Association of Museums and other international agencies to help the search for looted treasure, said Mr Mikuriya. There was longstanding co-operation between the WCO and these important partners with respect to the preservation of cultural heritage.

The WCO would also encourage regional action by countries neighbouring Iraq and would use its Customs Enforcement Network (CEN) and the WCO network of Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices around the world to keep its Member Customs administrations well informed. This would assist them to identify possible illegal shipments of precious cultural items at border and frontier crossings.

For more information contact:
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B-1210 BRUSSELS
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Tel:     +32 2 209 92 11
Fax:     +32 2 209 92 92


 


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